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When there's a Republican primary in one of the first districts in the South to turn to the GOP, you expect the candidates to fall all over themselves to out-conservative each other.  Well, yesterday Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Pendergraph, running for the open seat in NC-09, went off the deep end.  Specifically, he's gone full-on birther.  Not coincidentally, it came after Joe Arpaio came to town to campaign for Pendergraph.So what does Pendergraph, and for that matter other 9th District candidates, think of Obama’s legitimacy?

“I have reason to be suspicious,” he said. “But I don’t know. I haven’t seen the facts. I think there’s a lot of smoke and generally when there’s smoke there’s got to be fire somewhere.”

Obama sought to put questions about his birthplace aside last year when he released a birth certificate from Hawaii. For many people, that settled the issue.

Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus last year declared the issue a distraction and said, “the president was born in the United States.”

But in March, Arpaio’s group declared the birth certificate a forgery.

While Pendergraph said he’s not sure it is, he said, “I’ve been around long enough to know people can forge anything.”

I may live next door to this district in NC-12, but just the thought of seeing a full-on birther with "Charlotte" next to his name in the Congressional Directory makes me want to cringe.  Fortunately, there's a solid alternative on the Democratic side.  Jennifer Roberts, who also serves on the Mecklenburg County Commission, is sitting and watching the cat fud fly in the Republican primary while running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.  She's the strongest candidate to run in this district in three decades, but we're gonna need a ton of help turning this district blue.  So lend her a hand--show her some love on ActBlue.

Roberts has been an at-large member of the county commission since 2004, and was its chairwoman until 2010.  By tradition, the chair goes to the at-large commissioner who gets the most votes--so that tells you something about Roberts' ability to get votes.  And she's someone with a proven record of working across the aisle to get things done--unlike Pendergraph, who appears to be lurching as far to the right as he can to get the nomination.  Hard to believe that he used to be a Dem--he was Mecklenburg County sheriff for 13 years as a Democrat.

Many of you know that Charlotte went big for Obama in 2008--in fact, his margin may have likely been enough to turn North Carolina blue.  But Roberts can't get into the House on coattails alone.  The Repubs are going to throw everything that isn't nailed down in order to keep this district in their hands.  Plus, Charlotte is a pretty expensive market to campaign in.  So she's going to need all the help she can get.  Help us make it happen.

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